State and politics
Papua New Guinea is an independent member of the
Commonwealth, and the British Monarch is Head of State but
is represented by a Governor General, appointed by Papua New
Guinea's single-chamber parliament for six years. Its 122
members are elected in general elections every five years.
The 19 provinces have far-reaching self-government. A review
of this began in 1992.
The many political parties reflect tribal affiliation
rather than ideology. The 1997 elections resulted in a
coalition government with Bill Skate (People's National
Congress) as head of government. Papua New Guinea for
an active foreign policy in the Pacific region and in 1989
signed a cooperation agreement with ASEAN.
The legal system has been developed under the influence
of English law, not least via Australia. The country's
highest court is The Supreme Court of Justice. The
death penalty remains in the penal code but is de facto
abolished in 1950. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how PG can stand for Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea's modern history is characterized by
violent ethnic clashes and internal political abrasions (see
History). Since independence in 1975, the young island
nation has experienced several shifts of power, state of
emergency and a nearly ten-year civil war between the
government and the separatist movement from the neighboring
island of Bougainville.
Respect for human rights is lacking in several areas.
Corruption and abuse, such as torture and violence,
characterize the police system and impunity is widespread.
According to data from human rights organizations, the
latest government under Peter O'Neill has made progress in
increasing political transparency, but corruption is still
widespread. However, freedom of expression and pressure are
respected to a great extent.
In sharp contrast to the constitution, which prohibits
discrimination on grounds of sex, women and girls are
subjected to abuses to a large extent. Violence and abuse
against women are largely socially accepted. To a large
extent, girls are at risk of sexual abuse in the school
environment. Pregnancy leads to a shutdown.
In general, women are considered and treated as inferior
and disadvantaged in all legal aspects, as well as in
economics and politics. Rape rarely leads to prosecution and
human trafficking for both sexual purposes and housework.
Children are also affected by the commercialized sex trade,
which is believed to be increasingly prevalent.
LGBTQ persons are stigmatized in society and for acts of
a gay character men are often sentenced to long prison